Soda ash is a natural by product to making soap. It is the powdery white layer that forms on top of your beautiful soap. Soda ash can really dim the appearance of your soaps and especially dull the brightness of the pretty colors you chose. It does not hurt your soap in anyway and there is no harm in leaving it on the soap but the appearance may not be as pretty with it there. There are many different factors that can contribute to this forming on your soap such as; temperatures, the oils and ingredients you use, as well as fragrances you add.
There are different methods for either avoiding soda ash entirely or for removing it after it forms on your soap. I will first mention a few ways that you can avoid soda ash from forming. One way of avoiding this build up is to cover the soap when it is hot with saran wrap or any plastic wrap. This method works, but if your soap is going to gel it could overheat and the saran wrap could trap the heat causing it to overheat or volcano (think mini explosive volcano mess!) Covering is not recommended with any soap that contains honey or sugar because that causes them to heat up fast. So if you are familiar with soaping and know your soap will not overheat this could be a good way for you to avoid the problem.
Another way to avoid soda ash from forming is to spray the top of the soap with 99% Isopropyl alcohol after it is poured into the mold. Many soap makers are happy using this method but it can be very easy to spray too little, too much, or not often enough which means you can still end up with the dreaded soda ash. Both of these above methods are not guaranteed to completely prevent it from happening, as every soap batch is never the same in regards to temperatures ingredients, etc. So any variance in recipe could negate the attempt to prevent the formation.
I have found that it is easier for me to let the soda ash form and take care of it when the soap has cured. There are two methods for removing it once the soap has cured. You can steam it off or you can wash it off. I have tried steaming with the teapot and that worked okay, but I really did not have the proper set up. I think at some point I will invest in a professional steamer but for now I prefer to wash the soap. It is quick and easy. Watch the video for a quick easy way to get rid of soda ash. Be sure to let me know what you think.
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